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A Problem for Freedom

May 22, 2014

At the end of my last post, Anxiety, Depression, and Political Philosophy, as well as the one before it, I gave a potential warning concerning the search for “universal and unchanging” laws, or in other words “the ultimate good”, I did pose myself a tentative idea of what such a good would be, both at the beginning of this post and in a number of my posts, which is the state of openness, which is connected fundamentally to the experience of freedom. A case can definitely be made that I am posing in this idea a universal ideal myself, it is something I and maybe others might want to consider more deeply.

I do nonetheless think that openness is a good place to begin tentatively because it allows for the consideration of other possibilities and so is not dogmatic in itself. But also, because the possibility of seeking other alternatives is present, the notion of openness contains the potential for its own negation—by this I mean that openness taken to its extreme would encompass an openness to closedness, and the only way to “test” a true openness, or else be sure that what is perceived as open is truly open and not just a figment of such would be to “experiment” with that which one positions oneself as open to. If one would close oneself off to that possibility, of experimentation, then one is in a sense closed, and not open at all. So there are definitely some issues with the notion of being open at all, because even if one would “reopen oneself”, particularly from a state of closedness, could one say that one was ever really closed at all, or was one in a sense always open, and if always open, was one really open to the experience of closedness or was one closed to the experience of closedness, or rather, was one never really open to begin with? Is it really possible to be truly open?

I guess my answer to that is that perhaps it is possible to be open, but maybe not open to all things, and maybe it’s not necessary or even a good thing to be open to everything. As conscious interactants we choose what to be open to… although I think the problem above still remains in a sense, because if we only choose to be open to certain things, are we really open at all or is that which we open ourselves to only something we would have chosen in any case, and likewise is that which we are closed to merely that which we would be closed to in any case, prior to our choice?

Any thoughts?

In my next post I addressed How the Problem for Freedom relates to Society, and Political Philosophy.

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